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Meth lab suspect sought

  • Tyler Strawdinger
    Tyler Strawdinger
Published May 21. 2013 05:02PM

Two of the three people arrested after a mobile meth lab exploded in a Lansford house Sunday night now face charges stemming from helping a fourth person elude police.

Kyle Frantz, 19, and Jackie Slaven, 38, both of 117 E. Patterson St., failed to tell police that Tyler Strawdinger was in the home after being told by police the day before the explosion that Strawdinger was wanted on a Schuylkill County warrant, and that they would be in trouble if they harbored or concealed him from law enforcement authorities.

Officer Timothy Wuttke told Frantz and Slaven on Saturday, May 18, that police were looking for Strawdinger, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Frantz and Slaven now face two counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed Monday by Lansford Det./Sgt. Jack Soberick.

Strawdinger, 20, with no known address, was still on the run as of early Tuesday.

He is described as a black male, with black hair and blue eyes. He stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs about 135 lbs., and has pierced ears, and tattoos on both the right and left knuckles which spell out "five." He has no known address, according to police.

In addition to the Schuylkill County warrant, Strawdinger is also wanted on a warrant stemming from the methamphetamine incident in Lansford. He is accused of operating the meth lab.

Anyone who may know of his whereabouts is asked to contact police at (570) 645-5844. All calls will be kept confidential.

Frantz; his father Scott R. Frantz, 44, of Scranton, and Slaven remain in Carbon County Correctional Facility, Nesquehoning, under $20,000 bail each for their alleged roles in the incident.

Slaven, 38, also faces charges of conspiracy to operating a methamphetamine lab (two counts); recklessly endangering another person; risking a catastrophe; endangering the welfare of children (three counts); and possession of materials with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Slaven's three children, ages 6, 7, and 8, were in the home at the time of the explosion.

Kyle Frantz is also charged with two counts of operating a methamphetamine lab; recklessly endangering another person; risking catastrophe; and possession of materials with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. Officer Joshua Tom also charged Frantz with possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance by a person not a registered practitioner; and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

Scott Frantz faces the same meth lab charges as his son. He also remains jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Det./Sgt. Jack Soberick, here's what happened:

At about 10 p.m. Sunday, Soberick and Wuttke were dispatched to a house fire at 117 E. Patterson St., which is rented to Slaven. Kyle Frantz was also living there. the dispatcher said the fire was from an unknown person hurling an explosive device through a rear window.

As police pulled up to the house, Soberick saw Lansford Fire Chief Ron Hood approaching the front door. He exited immediately, and told police the fire was out. Soberick started looking around the rear of the home to see if he could find evidence of the fire's origin. He smelled a heavy odor of kerosene or some other fuel, mixed in with the smoke still pouring out of the house.

Wuttke said he had just seen a male inside the kitchen area, take something, and then go back into the home. Soberick could hear water running and a toilet flushing. He immediately entered the home, due to the safety hazard to anyone in there.

He went upstairs and found Kyle Frantz in the bathroom, flushing the toilet and running water in the sink. He removed him from the room and ordered him out of the house.

Soberick saw the toilet was clogged with an instant "cold pack," and the sink water was being run through a funnel, apparently in an attempt to rinse the funnel.

Police had received prior complaints about frequent foot and vehicle traffic at the house at odd hours, as well as the belief by neighbors that there was some type of meth lab inside.

Soberick's observations of Frantz' actions in attempting to destroy or conceal material indicated, based on his training and experience, that the materials were used in the production of methamphetamine.

Frantz was arrested and searched. Police found numerous items of drug paraphernalia related to the use of marijuana.

A search of Slaven found numerous propane lighters and two lithium batteries.

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